International Studies & Programs

Innovation Scholars Program

GCFSI has partnered with the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources to establish a vibrant Innovation Hub in Malawi, which will help support food system innovation and bolster food security, as well as develop the current and next generation of entrepreneurial scientists in Malawi and the region.

The Innovation Scholars Program is a collaborative effort designed to elevate the research and innovation skills of the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) faculty and administration, as well as help educate and train the next generation of food system innovators, scholars, and entrepreneurs.

The Innovation Scholars Program offers a faculty track and an academic leadership track. The faculty track is designed to enable academic staff members to implement new and innovative processes for student learning; to design, develop and conduct high quality research that can address current food system challenges; to improve engagement with relevant stakeholders (including public and private sector); and to communicate the nature and importance of scientific research and innovation to diverse audiences.

The academic leadership track—which is geared toward those who serve as vice chancellor, registrar, deans, and heads of departments and their deputies and directors—is designed to develop innovative academic leaders at LUANAR and beyond. These leaders will focus on understanding the nature of innovation and the research that can solve current food system challenges; identifying institutional barriers to innovation in teaching, research, and outreach; articulating the gaps in leadership development that contribute to these barriers; and defining the qualities, knowledge, and skills needed to promote a culture of innovation within their institutions.

Project Team: John Bonnell and John Medendorp

The Innovation Scholars Program (ISP), an innovative, 12-month faculty development program, will serve as a catalyst to advance the overarching objective of the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) Innovation Hub to support food system innovation that bolsters food security, and develop the current and next generation of entrepreneurial scientists in Malawi and the region.

The program is modeled after MSU’s Academy for Global Engagement--a successful, field-tested faculty development program--yet targeted for innovation and contextual challenges. The core values include the following: participatory, asset-based, learner-centered, contextualized, and evaluative. As a result of the co-design process it was decided to add to the design of the program an academic leaders track that is intended to develop the type of institutional environment that would allow for the innovation culture to thrive and thus support the intended outcomes of the innovation scholars program.